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ABC: Calls for end to China's Falun Gong re-education camps

July 05, 2001 |  

Human rights groups are calling for China to scrap its network of more than 300 labour camps following what authorities say is another mass suicide by Falun Gong practitioners.

At least 15 women are believed to have died.

The reported death of Falun Gong followers in a Chinese labour camp has again seen the issue of human rights rise in China. John Lombard speaks with Tom O'Byrne.

Members of a Falun Gong support group, based in Hong Kong, say that an information blackout is now in place on this latest [tragedy].

They claim the deaths were the result of torture by guards inside the camp in Heilongjiang Province.

Family members of some of the 15, who died two weeks ago, say the bodies were cremated shortly after death, before anyone could see them.

One family says the guards handed them a jar containing their mother's ashes when they arrived at the camp.

Falun Gong practitioners make up close to half the number of Chinese people being held in labor camps, a process that requires no legal or judicial ruling.